It’s the top of the ninth and I still haven’t started the recap because deep down I want to believe a rally exists. Somewhere, in the depths of the Indians’ bats, they are capable of scoring four runs in an inning. I want to believe.
I should know better by now.
Indians batters in the bottom of the ninth went without a fight, just like they have every other inning of this game, most innings of this series, and most games of this season. The offense has looked dead on arrival when the season began and not much has changed since. Not even a couple big bursts could get things going more than a game or two.
Franmil Reyes put together some good at-bats last night, but didn’t get great results. Tonight he turned solid contact into hits — a team-leading three, to be exact. He was one of only a handful Indians to register a hit and the only one with more than a lone hit. Each of Reyes’ singles were hit at least 90.6 mph and he peaked with a 108.5 mph screamer off Kyle Hendricks in the sixth.
For reasons beyond explanation, Mike Freeman started in left field tonight and promptly struck out in three of his four at-bats. Tyler Naquin got a hit but struck out twice in his return from a toe injury, and Bradley Zimmer played into the nine-hole perfectly by also — you guessed it — striking out twice.
Francisco Lindor made a lot of contact, but all but one ball in play was drilled straight into the ground. The result was three ground ball outs — none with an expected batting average over 0.080 — and a single off Rowan Wick in the seventh.
Although Carlos Carrasco was able to register seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work, it didn’t come easy. The Cubs were patient and the strikezone was ... let’s call it unfortunate. A bad strikezone combined with a lack of Roberto Pérez and his sleight of hand behind the plate left Carrasco out to dry on a lot of close pitches. The result was five walks and three earned runs off four hits on the night.
Tonight really highlighted just how much the Indians miss Bebo, both behind the plate and his occasionally alright bat. Sandy León looked all around terrible and served as a brutal reminder that framing does, in fact, matter.
James Karinchak gutted out 1.1 innings of work, striking out four, including this absolutely disgusting sequence against Ian Happ.
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 13, 2020
James Karinchak is a cheat code. pic.twitter.com/SZ3UxGkN0G
It was nice seeing Karinchak in a game for more than mop-up duty at the end of an inning; hopefully soon it’ll be with a game on the line or at least a game in range of this anemic offense.
With tonight’s loss the Indians sit at 10-9 and fourth in the American League Central. They’ll take a night off tomorrow then head off for a road trip that should be considered light, but I don’t even know anymore.